OT: HDD drive light on permanently and IDE drives not seen


M

Martin C

This is probably not an XP issue (hence the OT in the subject line), but
someone here may be able to help.

Doing nothing special (just selecting the start menu), the PC locked up
totally with the HDD light on permanently. I waited for an hour before
deciding that it was totally locked. Ctrl/Alt/Del would not work either. The
HDD did not sound as if it was accessing, so I performed a hard turn off
with the power button.

I now have the following. The HDD light comes on immediately power is
applied and stays on permanently. The BIOS now cannot set either the DVD ROM
drive or my spare IDE HDD. The main drive is a SATA which is seen ok. Not
sure if this went at the same time, but certainly not a long time before.

It takes a lot longer to get through the splash screen at the start of the
boot (ASUS BIOS motherboard splash screen) and takes longer to boot into XP,
but it does get there. I can use XP as normal, but things are a fair bit
slower than usual.

I have tried the following:
Checked device manager for items listed as failing - none (but DVD drive not
listed)
Disconnected the IDE cable from the DVD and IDE HDD - no change to HDD
light.
Replaced IDE cable with a spare - no change to light or devices
Tried the second IDE port (have both devices on one IDE cable) - no change
to light or devices.

I cannot get my DVD or IDE HDD back and the HDD light stays on all the time.

I have yet to try resetting the BIOS and cloning the SATA drive and try with
the cloned drive, but thought I would try here first.

Thanks for any help you can provide. I have looked on Google, but have not
managed to find a suitable answer yet.

Cheers

Martin
 
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D

DL

Can be a sign of a failing drive, or mobo, use the test utility available
from HD site, to create the boot floppy/cd test utility.
 
M

Martin C

Thanks for the quick response. Sorry, should have mentioned already. I
downloaded the SeaTools diagnostic tool for my Seagate drive. It reports
everything as fine.

I, too, am beginning to suspect the motherboard. I will try re-installing
the drivers for the motherboard, just in case.

Martin
 
A

Anna

Martin C said:
Thanks for the quick response. Sorry, should have mentioned already. I
downloaded the SeaTools diagnostic tool for my Seagate drive. It reports
everything as fine.

I, too, am beginning to suspect the motherboard. I will try re-installing
the drivers for the motherboard, just in case.

Martin


Martin:
1. Did this problem arise just "out-of-the-blue"? One day the system was
working just fine, the next day the problem(s) you describe just occurred?
Do you have any clue whatsoever what might have caused this problem? Any
hardware/software changes occurring just before the problem(s) arose?

2. I assume from your description that your system's boot drive (what you
call your "main" drive) was (is) the SATA HDD and your secondary
(non-booting) HDD is a PATA HDD. And you've indicated you've checked out "my
Seagate drive" (presumably the SATA HDD, yes?) with Seagate's diagnostic
utility. What about the PATA HDD, the one you call your "spare"? Have you
checked that out as well?

3. Setting aside the HDD "light", if you boot to the SATA HDD with the PATA
HDD disconnected, does the system boot without incident and properly
function? Or still the same problem you describe?

4. What do you mean by "resetting the BIOS". What makes you think BIOS
settings may be involved here?

5. You mention cloning the SATA HDD. I assume you would be cloning the
contents of that drive to your secondary PATA HDD. Is that right? And that
PATA HDD currently contains data (used as a backup?) and is a non-bootable
drive, right? Your point would be that at least you would have a cloned copy
of a "good" drive so that you could manipulate the other HDD and be secure
you have a "fallback" in case things go awry. Is that right?

6. So how could the PATA HDD serve as the recipient of the clone since you
indicate that drive is not recognized in the system? You have a bootable
"Startup Disk" of your disk-cloning program that you could use for the
disk-cloning operation? Is that it?

7. You're considering a Repair install of the OS once you have a clone of
the "good" HDD, is that it?

8. You've checked the ASUS site to determine if any BIOS update is
available? What model is the motherboard?

9. I don't think "re-installing the (motherboard) drivers" is the solution
to your problem(s), but it can't hurt especially if there are updated
drivers offered by ASUS.
Anna
 
P

Patrick Keenan

Martin C said:
Thanks for the quick response. Sorry, should have mentioned already. I
downloaded the SeaTools diagnostic tool for my Seagate drive. It reports
everything as fine.

I, too, am beginning to suspect the motherboard. I will try re-installing
the drivers for the motherboard, just in case.

Martin

Drivers for the motherboard are loaded by the OS, and if the problem exists
in the BIOS, drivers aren't going to help. Your system seems to have
hardware problems.

I would suggest focusing at the lowest level to either establish or rule out
hardware failure.

HTH
-pk
 
M

Martin C

Responses included inset to your questions below:

Anna said:
Martin:
1. Did this problem arise just "out-of-the-blue"? One day the system was
working just fine, the next day the problem(s) you describe just occurred?
Do you have any clue whatsoever what might have caused this problem? Any
hardware/software changes occurring just before the problem(s) arose?
Yes, this was completely 'out of the blue'. I had not made any hardware
changes. I had installed a media converter application a few days earlier,
but it had been alright and I was not using it when the problems started.
2. I assume from your description that your system's boot drive (what you
call your "main" drive) was (is) the SATA HDD and your secondary
(non-booting) HDD is a PATA HDD. And you've indicated you've checked out
"my Seagate drive" (presumably the SATA HDD, yes?) with Seagate's
diagnostic utility. What about the PATA HDD, the one you call your
"spare"? Have you checked that out as well?
My main drive (C drive plus extensions D,E,F) are on the SATA drive. The
PATA is used for backups. I used the SeaTools diagnostic to check out the
Seagate SATA drive as this was the one that has the HDD light on constantly.
I have not checked out the PATA drive, but it is disconnected now anyway.
Disconnecting it has had no effect.
3. Setting aside the HDD "light", if you boot to the SATA HDD with the
PATA HDD disconnected, does the system boot without incident and properly
function? Or still the same problem you describe?
I have disconnected both the PATA drive and DVD RW from the IDE channel. The
HDD light is still on. I have had no problems with getting the machine to
boot. It just does not see any of the devices on the IDE cable. With just
the DVD RW removed, the PATA drive is not seen by BIOS and vice versa.
4. What do you mean by "resetting the BIOS". What makes you think BIOS
settings may be involved here?
My BIOS has the option to return all settings to a default setup. It might
get round the BIOS not auto detecting the IDE components, but I am not too
hopeful about that.
5. You mention cloning the SATA HDD. I assume you would be cloning the
contents of that drive to your secondary PATA HDD. Is that right? And that
PATA HDD currently contains data (used as a backup?) and is a non-bootable
drive, right? Your point would be that at least you would have a cloned
copy of a "good" drive so that you could manipulate the other HDD and be
secure you have a "fallback" in case things go awry. Is that right?
I have another SATA drive I was going to install into the computer, that is
the same size as my main SATA drive. I was going to clone the drive onto the
new SATA drive and then swap them over. This would test if the old SATA
drive was at fault. If it worked ok with the cloned drive, then it would
mean that the original SATA drive was faulty. The PATA drive has nothing to
do with it.
6. So how could the PATA HDD serve as the recipient of the clone since you
indicate that drive is not recognized in the system? You have a bootable
"Startup Disk" of your disk-cloning program that you could use for the
disk-cloning operation? Is that it?
I refer you to the answer above for (5)
7. You're considering a Repair install of the OS once you have a clone of
the "good" HDD, is that it?
That is an option, but not one I have got to yet.
8. You've checked the ASUS site to determine if any BIOS update is
available? What model is the motherboard?
I have not looked at BIOS updates yet. I rather think the motherboard is
dying slowly anyway.
9. I don't think "re-installing the (motherboard) drivers" is the solution
to your problem(s), but it can't hurt especially if there are updated
drivers offered by ASUS.
The idea behind this was that the HDD controllers may be faulty - although
Windows Device Manager seems to think they are ok. I am in desperation times
here before I decide it is time to upgrade my PC.
 
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A

Anna

Martin:
Before going any further let me precisely understand just what your problem
is...

Forgetting about the HDD "light" being constantly on...

What *exactly* is your problem?

Are you indicating that there's no problem with your SATA HDD in that it
boots without incident and properly functions?

But that there's some sort of non-recognition problem affecting your
secondary PATA HDD and/or your optical drive? Is that the heart of your
problem? Or is your *only* "problem" the fact that your SATA HDD "light" is
continuously on?
Anna
 
M

Martin C

The SATA drive boots without incident, but everything is slower than it used
to be. I can do everything I used to do in Windows, but at a slower pace -
and occassionally locks up totally. The main problem (forgetting about the
HDD light) is that the BIOS does not see any of the devices on the IDE port.
I therefore cannot see my DVD or PATA drive in Windows. This all started,
however, when the HDD light problem started. May be a red herring, or maybe
related somehow.

Martin
 
A

Anna

Martin C said:
The SATA drive boots without incident, but everything is slower than it
used to be. I can do everything I used to do in Windows, but at a slower
pace - and occassionally locks up totally. The main problem (forgetting
about the HDD light) is that the BIOS does not see any of the devices on
the IDE port. I therefore cannot see my DVD or PATA drive in Windows. This
all started, however, when the HDD light problem started. May be a red
herring, or maybe related somehow.

Martin


Martin:
So when you access Disk Management, there's no listing of either the PATA
secondary HDD or the optical drive, right?

And you've indicated the SATA boot HDD checks out OK with the HDD diagnostic
utility, right? And no problem other than the one above when you boot to the
SATA HDD except that the system seems sluggish, right?

And if you connect *only* the PATA HDD to the system and not the optical
drive, the same non-recognition problem?

And the same non-recognition problem if you disconnect the PATA HDD and
connect only the optical drive?

Assuming your motherboard contains two IDE channels have you tried
connecting the PATA/IDE devices to different channels as well as changing
the Master/Slave relationships? And, of course, you've checked all your
connections to ensure they're proper, right?

Device Manager shows all is well?
Anna
 
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M

Martin C

I am more and more convinced now that the problem is motherboard related.

In answer to your questions:
Disk Management does not show either the PATA or DVD drive.
The SATA is indeed ok, but slow
I have tried no devices on the IDE cable, just PATA, just DVD and have tried
the other IDE port. On each occassion, all problems remain of no IDE devices
detected.
Device manager shows that all is well, apart from the PATA and DVD not being
present in the list.
I have also checked out the PSU voltages - and they are all ok. I have also
checked that a supply is present on the IDE devices.
I tried resetting the CMOS by removing the battery, changing the jumper to
reset the BIOS and started again. No change.

I rather think that it is time for an upgrade.

Martin
 

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